John T. Ryan Safety Trophies


John T. Ryan Safety Trophies

For a mine in a given category which experienced the lowest reportable injury frequency in the previous year

Origins & Conditions


For nominations, please contact your local chief mines inspector, or the John T. Ryan secretary Thomas Demorest at 

In 1941, the Canadian mining industry was making every effort possible to produce metals and minerals for war supplies. It was important, given the work environment at the time, to optimize safe production. When the Mine Safety Appliances Company of Canada Limited (now MSA Safety Sales LLC) offered to donate a prestigious trophy to recognize notable achievement, it was gratefully accepted by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. 

The first trophy, named the John T. Ryan Trophy honors the founder of Mine Safety Appliances, and was won by the Chesterville Mine near Virginiatown, Ontario. 

In 1942, a second national John T. Ryan Trophy was established for coal mines and seven regional trophies for metal and coal mines were donated by the sponsor. With the development of potash mines in Saskatchewan in the late 1960s, it was recognized that a third national trophy was required for the part of Canadian mining which did not fall into either the metal or coal categories. The select mine category was established in 1970. 

 In 1980, MSA Canada began giving special award certificates to companies which were judged to have made notable achievements in safe production, but were not eligible for one of the nine national and regional trophies awarded annually. At the same time, it included with the trophy presentations a framed certificate of achievement, so that winners would have a permanent record to display. The J.T Ryan program is administered by a committee of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.  

In 2022, MSA Safety Sales LLC introduced the John T. Ryan Mine Safety Technology Award that focuses on innovative technologies applied at mine sites to improve health and safety. The Mine Safety Technology Award was developed to recognize a shift towards using leading indicators to establish controls and processes to prevent workplace incidents and injuries, and acknowledge a mine's innovation, using technology to protect the health and safety of their employees. 

The John T. Ryan Trophy was first introduced to the Canadian mining sector in 1941, and has now expanded globally to include; Chile (1996), Peru (1999), Colombia (2011), South Africa (2011), Argentina (2012) and Brazil (2012).  

The Council of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) will present trophies annually to the companies whose Canadian mines have achieved the lowest injury frequencies in their geographical and/or mineral sector. 

Council supports the principle that mine safety is enhanced through friendly competition and public recognition of extraordinary results.  The goal of the John T. Ryan Safety Trophies Program is to eliminate the suffering of miners and their families due to work injuries. 

Trophies and awards are presented upon the recommendation of the John T. Ryan Safety Trophies Committee.  This committee consists of the heads of the provincial and territorial mines inspections organizations, the heads of the provincial and territorial mining associations and certain ex-officio members.  CIM Council appoints the Chairman and the Secretary of the Committee. 


The mining industry is divided into three mining sections:  metal mines, select mines and coal mines.  There is one “Canada National Trophy” for each of these sectors. 

For metal mines, the industry is divided into four geographical regions:  British Columbia and Yukon; the Prairie Provinces and Northwest Territories; Ontario; Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.  There is one “Regional Trophy” for each of these regions. 

For select mines, the industry is divided into two regions; Manitoba and the western provinces and territories; Ontario and the eastern provinces.  There is one “Regional Trophy” for each of these regions. 

This means that there are a total of nine trophies which may, on the recommendation of the Committee, be awarded annually. 

In addition, “Special Award Certificates” will be awarded at the discretion of the Committee to companies which have exemplary safety records but which are not eligible for a trophy. 


The Canada National Trophies will be presented at the Annual General Meeting of CIM. 

The Regional Trophies and Special Award Certificates will be presented at a meeting of mining industry people deemed suitable by the members of the Committee. 

The winning companies will hold the trophies for a period not exceeding one year, and will return the trophies at the time and to the place designated by the Committee.  In the event that two or more companies are awarded a trophy jointly, the Committee will specify what part of the ensuing year each will hold the trophy. 


  1. A Metal mine is a mine producing metals from which at least two thirds of its production is derived from an underground operation.
  2. A Coal mine is any mine producing coal.
  3. A Select mine is any mine except Metal and Coal; for example, any open pit mine, oil sands operations, flat-bedded nonmetallic mineral deposits such as salt, potash or gypsum mines.
  4. A Reportable Injury is an injury requiring medical attention which prevents a worker from returning to his or her regular job on the day following the injury, or any full day subsequent to that day.
  5. A Lost Time Injury is an injury which requires the worker to stay home or be hospitalized on the day following the injury, or any full day subsequent to that day.
  6. A Modified Work Injury is an injury in which a medical professional, including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other qualified professional determines that a worker is capable of doing some useful work, but not all facets of the regular work being done before the injury.
  7. The Injury Rate is calculated by multiplying the number of Reportable Injuries by 200,000, and dividing by the number of hours worked in the unit of competition, for the competition period.
  8. A Unit of Competition is a mine or complex of mines together with the mill, office and shops used in conjunction with the mine.  Smelters and refineries may be included with the mine if the number of employees is less than 50% of the total in the Unit.  Companies operating more than one mine may include all their operations in one Unit, or divide their operations into several Units.  Once the decision is made it may not be changed without the approval of the Committee.

A company which employs mining contractors to do production work at the mine must include the contractors in its Unit.  A mining contractor operating a mine, or doing development work, is itself eligible as a Unit of Competition.  

  1. Hours worked by the Unit will include regular and overtime hours for salaried and hourly employees, in the calendar year for which the award is being made.  Companies which do not have enough hours in one year to be eligible may accumulate the experience (hours and injuries) over more than one year.


Every company operating a mine in Canada is invited to submit an annual entry form, regardless of eligibility.  The information contained in the form may be used in later years to determine eligibility for a Special Award Certificate. 

A fatal injury in a calendar year makes a company ineligible. 

An industrial disease, (such as hearing loss, white finger, cancer or other slowly developing disabilities) is not a reportable injury. 

A Unit of Competition will have a minimum of 500,000 employee hours for metal and select mines, and 120,000 employee hours for coal mines, in one calendar year (Note:  that smaller companies may accumulate hours over several calendar years). 


The Entry Form will be authorized by the Committee, and will be submitted in duplicate by companies to their Provincial or Territorial Representative for review. 

The Form will indicate the number of hours worked by the Unit and the number of Lost Time and Modified Work Injuries; these numbers will be certified by the manager in charge of the Unit. 

The forms will be returned to the Committee Secretary for Processing at least two months before the Annual General Meeting of CIM. 


The John T. Ryan Safety Trophies Committee believes that safety program performance is best measured by the prevention of injuries serious enough to keep a worker from returning to his or her regular job the day following the injury.  However, the Committee endorses the provision of Modified Work as part of a rehabilitation program designed to speed recovery of an injured worker and to reduce the economic impact on both the worker and the company.  Modified Work is not provided to conceal injuries that should be reported, and in recognition of this fact, the Entry Form requires the reporting of both Lost Time and Modified Work injuries so that good work by companies is publicly acknowledged. 


There can be multiple recipients of this award every year. This award is solely for organization nominations. 

Please click on each category for a complete list of winners.



Westmoreland Coal Co., Poplar River Mine

The Poplar River Mine began back in 1979, first owned and operated by SaskPower Corporation of Saskatchewan. After many name changes over the years, the mine is now owned by Westmoreland Mining. The mine is located in picturesque southern Saskatchewan, saddled up against the Big Muddy Valley. Employing approximately 140 people, the mine has been a constant supplier of coal to the Poplar River generating station for over 44 years. In addition to providing employment for area residents it has  also strived to be a good neighbor and participant  in the communities that surround the mine. The Poplar River Mine has always prided itself on safety which has allowed them to win The National John T. Ryan award 4 of the last 5 years by achieving a total frequency rate of 0.00. The mine’s strong safety culture and top-notch employees help power the Province of Saskatchewan! 


Vale, Voisey’s Bay Mine

Vale’s Voisey’s Bay Mine and Concentrator operations are located on the north coast of Labrador. Voisey's Bay has been producing nickel-copper-cobalt from an open-pit operation since 2005. The future of Voisey’s Bay involves the transition from open-pit to underground with the development of two underground mines—Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps—extending the life of Vale's Labrador Operations well into the future. Vale’s operations in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador are an integrated mining, milling, and processing operation; nickel concentrate produced at Voisey's Bay is processed at Vale's Long Harbour hydrometallurgical facility in Newfoundland, one of the world's lowest emission nickel processing plants. Vale is a proud local operator in Newfoundland and Labrador and enjoys a long and collaborative relationship with its Aboriginal/Indigenous partners, Innu Nation & Nunatsiavut Government, on whose traditional lands the Voisey's Bay Complex is located.